8 Months After Debut, Castro's Rainbow Escalator Is Already Out Of Service

Last May, the SFMTA unveiled a much-anticipated new escalator leading from Harvey Milk Plaza into the Castro Muni station—complete with LED rainbow lighting.  

But despite being only eight months old, the new rainbow escalator is already struggling. For the past few weeks, it's been in and out of operation—a fact that has some neighbors annoyed.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told us that the rain is to blame for the escalator's woes: 

"The recent heavy rains, coupled with power failures, have caused some electronic/electrical control issues with the escalator. Although these issues are completely covered under the contract warranty, the recent days of heavy rain have impacted the troubleshooting and repair of the escalator.

[The closures] are due to safety concerns, as well as concerns regarding exposing electrical components to possible water damage in attempts to repair the plaza escalator in the rain."

That contradicts what the SFMTA's Scott Broder (who came up with the idea to install the rainbow LEDs) told us last year: that the escalator is capable of weathering heavy rains without flooding.

Rose told us that a local repair team from Vienna-based contractor Schindler Elevator has been on-site day and night in the Castro this week to repair the escalator, and that the company is committed to resolving the issue as soon as possible. However, he couldn't offer a timeline on when the escalator would return to full service. 

Meanwhile, the other three escalators at Castro Station are also undergoing revamps (the north entrance escalator was second in line), and the SFMTA announced in November that all four would eventually include rainbow LED features.

Not everyone in the neighborhood was thrilled about that. As one commenter put it: "How about we get the escalators to work first, before we decorate them?"

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